Tag Archives: blogging

A-Z: Appetizer

Holidays are divine, as far as I’m concerned. While spending time with family always tops my list of great things to do, spending time with family in the kitchen surrounded by scrumptious appetizers warrants a spot one cloud away from heaven.

Suffice it to say, my taste buds were thrilled this past weekend. And now, thanks to Jenny Hansen, my appetite has been stimulated again.

Following in her footsteps, I’ve taken the A-Z Challenge. During the month of April, I will blog my way through the alphabet, taking only Sundays off for good behavior. If you are as crazy as me, you can join the fun by clicking on this link and signing up for a month of blogging madness before the end of today.

If you’re only semi-crazy, you can follow my journey and that of other insane and talented bloggers for the next thirty days. A list of their blogs will appear here. And don’t fret, not all of them are geared toward writing. Check the codes next to their name to see if one fits your interests.

For instance, I have a (WR) listed next to my blog which stands for writing. Other categories include things like crafting, cooking, gardening, gaming, movies, books, education, etc. You name it, someone is blogging about it. So, please, check out the list and see if any names tickle your tweeter.

In the meantime, I will do what I do best–tie together writing and real life!

APPETIZERS

The whole purpose of an appetizer is to get you hungry. Chefs have long ago figured out that stimulating the appetite with a tasty morsel can have you begging for more.

Writers are no different. We spend oodles of time crafting the perfect literary teaser for our works. We do this in the form of the elevator pitch, the query letter, the back cover blurb and the synopsis.

Like great chefs, we condense entire meals into delectable phrases and enticing sentences. We give our potential readers a tiny taste of what’s to come in one compact creation.

A is for Appetizer: that small portion of perfectly blended words that whet the literary appetite.

Perfect it like your favorite dish and stimulate your reader’s hunger.

My top five apps are, in no particular order:

  • Homemade guacamole. Add a margarita and I could die happy.
  • Chili conqueso. Simple, not pretty to look at, but incredibly delish.
  • Cucumber dill dip. Nothing says spring like a fresh scoop of this!
  • Buffalo chicken dip. Scooped up with celery…yummmmm.
  • And a plain old veggie tray complete with cukes, mushrooms, cauliflower and peppers of every color.

One of my favorite literary appetizers is from a quaint MG novel by Ingrid Law. Savvy has a supercharged cover for young readers and a jacket blurb that had me hooked.

Mibs Beaumont is about to become a teenager. As if that prospect weren’t scary enough, thirteen is when a Beaumont’s savvy strikes–and with one brother who causes hurricanes and another who creates electricity, it promises to be outrageous…and positively thrilling. 

What’s your favorite appetite teaser?

Curious minds want to know.

Frivolous Friday: Balancing Writing and Parenting Schedules

I’m intuitive about a lot of things. Child rearing being one. It doesn’t mean I’m great at it. It simply means I get the big picture with relative ease. Yet there are other things I don’t get at all. Obvious things that everyone else in the universe seems to inherently understand.

This is fine as long as I remain blissfully unaware of my ignorance. Yet the moment realization crystallizes and I can see with the utmost clarity that I have totally missed the boat that everyone else in the universe is on, I feel pretty sheepish.

Like infants, writers need a schedule to keep themselves on track. I do fairly well with that as a whole. However, as I transform my blog to include all my passions, I finally figured out I needed a blogging schedule as well.

Duh, right?

Well, sometimes we’re slow on the uptake…or, at least, I am. So here’s what’s in store for you as I balance the things in my bloggerly life:

  • Mash Up Mondays (aka MUM): these days will be filled with the ins and outs of motherhood and marriage.
  • Writing Wednesdays: yep, the same great info on writing with the same quirky anecdotes from my life. It’s how I roll.
  • Frivolous Fridays: exactly how it sounds. Whatever tickles my fancy in terms of life, literature and liberty. Yeah, liberty. As in the things I feel passionate about like literacy, bullying, etc.

So there you have it. I’m moving on from infancy and heading toward toddlership. I’m trying to catch up with that boat before it completely leaves home port!

How do you handle those times your slow on the uptake? Do you find that realizing things a little too late is the end or a new beginning?

Curious minds want to know.

Confession Time: Rebuilding My Brand

I hate to publicly admit my failures, but I’m going to do just that, right here for all the world to read.

When I started Words from the Woods, it was my private space. A place where I could go as a wanna be writer to connect with other wanna be writers ina way that didn’t intersect with my real life. And I did.

But slowly, more and more of me came out in my posts, and readers began telling me, “I read your blog to keep up with your family.” Or, “I love your insights into kids and relationships.” Over time, I’ve found myself catering to two vastly different readerships:

  1. Those seeking posts on my quirky take on family dynamics, marriage, child-rearing and my unique soap box issues. Sure they enjoy the bits about the books I read, and more than a handful like to keep tabs on my writing. But, and here’s my public failure announcement, I didn’t start blogging with you in mind.
  2. The people I initially blogged for were those seeking writing tips. Guess what? There are a thousand and one aspiring writer blogs (times infinity). In fact, I blog at a collective with that as the sole purpose. I’m also very active at AgentQuery Connect where, as a moderator, I provide real-time tips to writers nearly every day. Seems a little redundant, actually, to expend the energy regurgitating the information here. Which is likely why I haven’t been blogging as much recently. (Public failure announcement number two.)

All this got me thinking that it’s time I repurpose my blog. My future audience of book buyers is not writers themselves. Well, actually some are, but, as a whole, my future audience is parents. Parents and grandparents, or aunts and uncles, or godmothers and godfathers or teachers and librarians who are looking for WHY my books should be on their shelves. Not writers. Not unless you also have a child or twenty in your life that you wish to purchase books for.

I also happen to like talking about the things near and dear to my heart, like child-rearing, education, literacy, marriage, bullying and friendship. I’m a speech coach, a mother, a volunteer, a wife and a writer. I advocate for at-risk kids (the traditional kinds and the kinds we seldom consider) and do freelance writing on the side. Someday I want to have my books published and in the hands of the children you love. It is my ultimate goal.

But in the meantime, these other passions are also a part of who I am, and they impact why I write the things I do. These are the focus of my new journey in blogging.

Over the next week or so, you’ll see some changes to my blog as I begin rebuilding my brand. Not as a whimsical walk with an aspiring writer, but more so as a whimsical walk through the life of a parent writer.

I hope you stick around to see where this takes me. Personally, I’m both thrilled and terrified!

If there’s anything you personally would like to see me do more of (or not at all) let me know. Thanks for your support up ’til now and hopefully through this and beyond.

Hugs~

PS. I’ll completely understand if I some of you abandon this new brand. Just know you can always follow my writing words of wisdom at From The Write Angle or on AgentQuery Connect.

A Day of Donor Thankfulness

For forty years my body has behaved perfectly.  My nephew’s only did for fourteen.  Within the last month, both of us have replaced worn out parts–him a tendon and me some jawbone.

My utmost thanks goes to the unknown donors who will make our lives–and our recoveries–easier.

My utmost thanks also goes to the known donors in my life.

I thank the writing community at AgentQuery Connect and the daily donations my fellow scribes freely give.  The gifts of time, talent and even treasure are exchanged between individuals who have never met and likely never will.

Thank you, AQCrew and the beautiful site you have provided us.  If it weren’t for you, I would never have met so many wonderful people I call friends.  I wouldn’t have my agent because I’d still be debating whether or not I needed one.  I also wouldn’t have the confidence I now have in calling myself a writer.  You will forever rock my world, and I would give my firstborn son to you out of gratitude if he wasn’t turning eighteen in a few months.

I thank the Class of 09 for being the wonderfully supportive group of peeps that you are.  As odd as some of us can be at times, we make a pretty stellar team when you lump us into one room.  I would do anything within my power for any one of you.

I thank the newest members who join AQC every day in hopes of reaching their dreams.  Your enthusiasm continually pushes me to be better.  You might not realize it, but your donation to the community is invaluable.

Another thanks goes to my blogging friends.  Connecting with you through your writing is always a joy.  Seeing your successes and commiserating in your losses–personal and professional–gives me hope that the world really is a wonderful place to be.

Additionally, the comments I receive on my blog are some of the best donations around.  Some make me laugh, while others nearly bring me to tears.  They all bring me joy and motivate me to keep writing.

And finally and most importantly, I thank my family and real friends (as opposed to my imaginary, cyber ones).  Your support is unparalleled.  Even if you don’t know what an anthology is.  Or should I say especially?  Because despite not knowing how gruelling the writing process can be, your encouragement makes me believe in myself.  I am almost more afraid to let you down than I am of disappointing myself.

Life is full of gifts, given to us in tiny, unimaginable ways.  We don’t always recognize them for what they are, or appreciate them when we do.  We take things for granted that we should cherish instead.  Like our knees and our teeth.  Like our ability to breathe and live life.  We forget that someone, somewhere, has donated a portion of themselves to help make our lives easier and better.

So thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, thanks for being you.

hugs~ cat

Contact Tip for Writers

Yesterday, I set off on a journey to track down some of my fellow scribes and got broadsided by something that has been niggling at me for a while now.

I couldn’t find contact info for half of my blogging buddies.  Seriously.  Short of viewing their whole profiles at Blogger–which don’t even get me started on my hate-love-hate relationship with them–I couldn’t find a way to contact my cyber friends.  Yes, you.

Dude, seriously.  If you want peeps to track you down, you have to make it simple.  I mean, what if I had been an agent stumbling across your gorgeous prose?  What if I searched my little heart out and couldn’t find your email address?  What if I tried to leave you a comment and Blogger hated me like it hates…er, me?

(I digress into a much-needed, side rant: in the past two weeks, I’ve had more comments eaten by Blogger than in my entire history of blogging.  So if you’re missing a comment or ten from moi, don’t look at me.)

All I’m sayin’ is that you need to make yourself accessible.  Spell out your email address (amazing(dot)writer(at)email(dot)com) and leave it someplace easy to find.  BTW, I spelled it out this way because when I typed it in normally–amazing.writer…–it actually tried to link to that address.  My point being, sometimes people need to see the physical address so they can use it.  Not everyone surfing the net is as tech-savvy as you are.

Secondly–yes, you three know who you are–allow me to subscribe to your blog in every way, shape, manner or form you can think of.  Email subscription?  Yep.  RSS feed?  Check.  Subscribe via Google?  Uh huh.

We all follow and read updated blog posts differently depending on our time, tech savvy-ness and inclination.  If you don’t make it easy, you’ll lose the opportunity to swindle allow readers to easily follow your posts.

For example, nothing makes me happier than receiving an email update with your newest post right in my gmail account.  I can read and delete or read and go forth to comment based on my time.  Even if I don’t have time, I’m still exposed to your blog each and every time you say something fantastically new and can read it on my phone while waiting to pick up my kids at the dentist.

But if I have to go to my office, log onto my computer as well as my blog and click on your name on my sidebar…well, here’s the time to admit that I don’t always visit my own blog every day.  In other words, if I’m not at my own home port, I surely will not be at yours.

And while it looks really cool to have all those smiling follower-faces on Blogger, I don’t do Blogger.  I know lots of writers and readers who don’t do Blogger.  Who would love to read your words every day, but don’t Follow anyone, anywhere.  They don’t want to make Blogger accounts and log in to see what’s up.  Think about it.  How many grannies smile back at you from your sidebar?  I mean those who don’t blog themselves?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  But I have just as many subscriptions to my blog from non-writers as I do follows from my writing and blogging friends.

So, do yourself a favor. Connect all your social networking homes to each other.  Make it easy for readers to stalk follow you from one place to another with minimal effort.  Doing this provides easy opportunities for your readers to enjoy your words.

And by all means, let me know how to get a hold of you in case I have a writing opportunity I’d like to share.

Do you make yourself easy to find, or are you stuck somewhere between peeking out of the closet door and throwing it wide open?  When was the last time you cleaned up your cyber accounts to make sure all your contact info is available and up to date?  Lastly, have you ever been contacted about a writing gig or some other opportunity based on your online work?  If so, imagine what would have happened if you hadn’t made yourself easily accessible.

Curious minds want to know.

Guest Post and a Reminder

A week or so ago, I debuted on Dean C. Rich’s blog: The Write Time.  In it I outlined how I manage to balance my writing time with real life duties.  And since I’m still playing catch-up after the Great Computer Demise, Dean has generously offered to write a post for me so I can spend my time more wisely.

Dean has four manuscripts under his fingertips.  He’s a fellow AQer with time to be kind, supportive and insightful, all while penning his fantasy novels.  If ever there’s a person to take time management tips from, it’s the guy who does it all.  And makes it look like a vacation!

Please welcome Dean to your blogging fold!

Sharing is such fun.  I joined AQC and met some wonderful writers over there.  I’ve learned that I am not near as ready to publish as I thought I was when I first logged into the site.  Cat has given me some great advice on AQC.  So as I learned about blogs and blogging I visited her blog and I must say, I am very impressed with what she has done with this place.  So I asked if she would be willing to be a guest blogger, and she suggested a blog swap.  So here I am on her blog wondering what I can share.

Life is like… Bacon


I was cooking bacon the other morning. It was the really good bacon, not too much fat, great meat, and it cooked up so well I was thrilled.  As I was cooking, I got to thinking about other packets of bacon I’ve tried to cook.  Sometimes the bacon is too thick and takes longer to cook.  Other times there is so much fat, even though the package makes it look like a lot of meat, that it isn’t any good.  Life is like that, and in an extension to writing, that as well.

You are not real sure how the bacon is going to turn out when you look at the package.  It isn’t until the packet is opened and the bacon is pulled out do you really know what you have to work with.  So your day may be planned, but you don’t know what the day is going to really be like until you start working your plan for that day.  Sometimes it is a hit, and sometimes you find yourself, at the end of the day, someplace you never intended to be.

Writing works the same way.  You have a great idea.  It isn’t until you start to put the idea on paper that you understand what you have to work with.  Is it worthy for a blog post?

No wait, I can make a short story out of this.

Is it something to entertain, or instruct?  Is it for the kids, or is it for busy adults?  Is it a novel?  Or *gasp* an epic story that will take several books to tell the tale?

The fun part of this is that you get to decide, and whatever you decide is right.  How cool is that?  You are in charge–it is your idea–and how you work it and how it turns out is completely in your control.  Perhaps that is why we are writers, because there are so many aspects of our lives that we cannot control!

So what are your ideas?  What is in your bacon box that needs to be put on the grill of life and made for others to enjoy?

Thanks for having me over Cat.

Nope.  The pleasure is all mine!

Dean can be found on AQC as DC Rich.  He blogs at The Write Time and tweets @deancrich.  He has five children, one grandson and a beautiful wife of 27 years.    Besides writing, he also enjoys music (all of his children, and his wife play a musical instrument, Piano, Cello, Viola, Flute, and sing), the outdoors, and photography.  That is when he isn’t at work.

And now for the reminder: As some of you may have noticed, SKELETON KEY is done.  Finished.  Reached the end.  Literally.  I’ve created an entire page just for this blogvel.  You can find it on my sidebar or the tabs at the top.  If you haven’t read any of it, I urge you to enjoy this fun paranormal romp created by fifteen talented and imaginative bloggers.  If you read bits and pieces, now is the time to sit down and peruse it from beginning to end.  Michelle wrapped it up beautifully.

hugs~